Tuesday, December 30, 2008

You've Come A Long Way Baby

The Republican Party has come a long way since Earl Butz uttered these famous words in 1976:
"The only thing the coloreds are looking for in life are tight p - - - - , loose shoes and a warm place to s - - -."
Such a statement would be unthinkable today. Afterall it was delivered in private to a few others. What a primative time the 1970's were. Unlike yesteryear, when only a select few could share in the laughter, today's Republicans use modern technology to help spread the racism around. Way to go boys! The Republican Party means progress!
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Why I Fight

Krugman:
Needless to say, the Bush administration offers a spectacular example of non-goo-gooism. But the Bushies didn’t have to worry about governing well and honestly. Even when they failed on the job (as they so often did), they could claim that very failure as vindication of their anti-government ideology, a demonstration that the public sector can’t do anything right.
Anti-government governing must, must, must be sent to the ash heap of history. It is on the back of the truck now and hopefully the new driver knows the way. With any luck, the Canadian Conservative Party will become the libertarian equivalent to the Albanian communists -- sad holdovers of a failed and false ideology.
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Monday, December 29, 2008

Israel, Gaza And Peace

Just a note to Warren Kinsella. Even modern and multicultural democracies make mistakes (have you been following Canadian politics in the last two months?). Using F-16's as a means of solving your problems with a neighbor, is a mistake (just as firing rockets at a neighbor known to use F-16's is completely insane). The peace process is the way forward. It is the only way forward. Now, back to the seasonal delights.
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Saturday, December 27, 2008

Mr. Ignatieff Ponders

Michael Ignatieff is troubled by his party's governing record.
The party, he said, needs to look hard at why Liberal governments have difficulty delivering on their best intentions, such as ideas for helping native people and building infrastructure.
There is no mystery here. The Liberal Party is composed of two groups, one that cares about such issues and another that actually runs Liberal governments. There is a disconnect between the two groups and the only thing that keeps them together is the "promise" by the governors that "someday" the wishes of the progressive wing will be realized. That that day keeps receding in the distance, is of little consequence to the governors, as long as the progressives keep voting Liberal. Because as we all know, voting Liberal is the most important thing.
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Friday, December 26, 2008

National Intimidation State

First, we have the case of a town in Quebec, losing funding for their anniversary party because they voted the wrong way. Now we have the story of a Jewish centre for disabled children being threatened. Why? Because it dared to invite Michael Ignatieff to a party:
Georganne Burke, who works for the Minister of State Gary Goodyear within Industry Canada, also insinuated that having Ignatieff at the ceremony could pose a problem for the school, according to event organizer Gary Gladstone.

"I am advising you that Georganne Burke called me this evening at about 10:30 pm (on Sunday) enraged, advising me for the benefit of the Jewish community the menorah lighting should be cancelled," Gladstone wrote in an email obtained by CTV News.

"(Burke) further went on to say that she felt it would do serious damage to Zareinu to have the event there," he said in the email.
When we get to the point in this country when, after hearing such tales, our inclination is to say "Thank God I live in Tory riding", we are screwed. Proroguing parliament made us look like we lived in a Third World country. This trend only confirms it.
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Monday, December 22, 2008

Position Seven, Mister Slave

Petting and slapping at the same time, Prime Minister Harper practices his own peculiar brand of S&M politics.

From the press release announcing the dumping (but only temporarily -- really) of the government's own vetting process for Supreme Court Justices:
The Prime Minister personally consulted with the new Leader of the Opposition prior to making Justice Cromwell’s appointment official. The Official Opposition has informed the Government that it welcomes Justice Cromwell’s appointment.
From the press release announcing that the Puffster has gone to heaven:
"If Senate vacancies are to be filled … they should be filled by the government that Canadians elected rather than by a coalition that no one voted for."
Both press releases were sent out today.
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Sunday, December 21, 2008

Friday, December 19, 2008

Bad Time To Be Poor

Since I am snowbound anyway, let's take another stroll down memory lane. This one comes from the second greatest Canadian band ever. It was written during the Mike Harris years (co-staring Jim Flaherty) and it is as true today as it was then. Hopefully the Harper years are the just death rattle of Thatcherism and really soon we will return to some semblance of civilization.



Update:It's a bad time to be poor.
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YYZ

For everyone stuck at the Pearson.

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Thursday, December 18, 2008

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

I Have Two Words For The Banks

And they aren't "Merry Christmas". More proof that these blood sucking bastards are completely divorced from reality. These vampires are lucky the peasants aren't at their doors with pitchforks and torches.
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Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Note To Michael Ignatieff

Macleans is suggesting that you are eying a new dance partner. I would suggest you read this first. He only wants you for your vote Mike and he won't call you the next day. I only say these things because I care.
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Spin The Wheel Steve

Well, the PM has changed his mind again. First, the downturn was "a good buying opportunity" and now it "could be" a depression. Does anyone else get the sense that Steveo is not a "steady hand" at the wheel of the ship (maybe the kind of "steady hand possessed by Edward Smith?--ed.)? Meanwhile "sources" have told the Globe that Flaherty is safe because he "is compliant with the Prime Minister's wishes." Does that fill anyone with confidence?
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Monday, December 15, 2008

Say What

In sum, there's a point I wanted to make: an Opposition coalition does, indeed, exist. Principally, it's the coalition calling itself the Liberal Party of Canada.
I guess Warren won't be coming to the "First Annual Coalition Christmas Clambake".
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Friday, December 12, 2008

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Like Paul On The Road To Damascus?

Wells has seen the light:
One rough division of labour here at Maclean’s has long held that Colleague Coyne advocated for electoral reform, whereas I didn’t care. Those days are over. Part of the recent crisis was due to the way our electoral system affords the Bloc Quebecois far more space than the other parties are willing to afford it legitimacy. If we don’t think a separatist party has as much right as the others to determine who keeps or loses power, then it makes no sense to hang onto an electoral system whose many insanities include its tendency to give the Bloc more seats than its share of votes. I will be looking for a mainstream party that credibly and seriously advocates major electoral reform, to bring our Parliament more closely into alignment with the voters’ wishes.
Despite the mess we are in politically, I count this as a good day.
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Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Harper On The National

Well, I watched "Sweater Strategy II: The Humaning" on the National last night. Harper was all warm and fuzzy and "let's get together for the good of Canada". Blech. Sorry, I threw up in my mouth a little. His eyes though, could not hide the seething anger at being challenged by the "conspiracy". He will do what he can to get Ignatieff to dump the coalition and then he will dispatch Ignatieff. It was as clear as the smirk on his face.
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Tuesday, December 09, 2008

The Way I Am Feeling Right Now

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Dear Liberals

Thanks for expediting the leadership. Now all I ask is that your leader take a clear stand on the future of the coalition (and letting Jim Karygiannis speak to the media does not count). Thanks.

Update: I am not suggesting that Iggy have a news conference (In fact that would be a stupid strategy). However, I think Layton has a right to know how the Liberals are going to jump. After all, how Iggy handles his relationships with the other leaders may determine his own fate in a possible minority situation of his own.

Bonus Food For Thought Update: The fact that Andrew Potter is writing endless screeds promoting the idea that the coalition would destroy the Liberal party, should tell the Liberals that a coalition might be the way to go.
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Monday, December 08, 2008

Christie Blatchford

Should go back to writing love letters to soldiers. Her understanding of minority government is as bad as her latest crush's, Stephen Harper. Embarassing.

Update: Favorite quote:
In my simple mind it went like this: If this was something Mr. Harper believed in doing, then why was doing it so wrong? Wasn't that why he wanted to win, to try stuff he wanted to try? And didn't we all sort of understand that the guy who won the election probably would try to bring in his ideas?
Simple mind? You said it, Christie. Can you count to 155, Christie? Neither can Steve.
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Saturday, December 06, 2008

Dear Liberals

Get your act together. If you want to continue the coalition, fine. If you have a better way to get the economy on track and want to make a separate deal with el presidente, fine (I won't be happy, but hey that is the nature of parliamentary democracy). Either way, make up your freaking minds and fast. Your coalition partner deserves that much consideration, at least.

Late Sunday Update: I doubt it had anything to do with my whining, but it looks like the Liberals are about to make their leadership race a sprint rather than a marathon. It may or may not have an impact on the coalition. That is for Liberals to decide. I am just glad they seem ("seem" is the operative word at this point) to be getting it together.
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Friday, December 05, 2008

Great Minds, etc.

Calgary Grit today:
So I do think passing a Conservative budget that adopts many of the principles the coalition has been advocating, while not an ideal situation, wouldn't be a horrible result. I really hope that the Liberals and NDP vote against it, and that it passes with the support of the evil separatists. If nothing else, that would be an embarrassment to Harper and, more importantly, I would find it really funny.
Me, in the comments over at Ben The Tiger's place the other day:
I think the coalition should vote against the budget and the Bloc should vote for it.
As CG says it would be amusing and I think a noble act, as the final gesture of the coalition, to make Harper look the fool he is.

Update: Although, CG if you are reading this, Harper will probably announce that if one of the other parties does not support him he will go the the GG for dissolution. I know that sounds insane, but this is Harper. He wants the opposition on its knees praying to him. So, if the coalition does want to do something like that, they had better keep quiet about it.
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Quoted Without Comment

From Firedoglake after Joe Lieberman's non-sacking:
No matter what Joe Lieberman does, the people who are protecting him hate you [the left] much more than they hate him.
Iggy supporter, Warren Kinsella, on Bob Rae's effort to keep the coalition alive:
Some people just are a lot more comfortable about governing with the NDP than others.
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This Break

May allow Canadians to judge the efficacy of waiting (Harper's preferred option) to stimulate the economy. Of course, in two months, Harper will have spent untold millions on ads saying that he would have stimulated the economy sooner, if not for the power grab by the opposition. The fact that this is a lie, will not deter Harper in the least. Oh, and I am sure that if a major event happens, like say the bankruptcy of a car company, happens during the break when recalling parliament is almost impossible, will be blamed on the "socialists and separatists" too. If nothing else, the Harperites are very good for the advertising and broadcasting industries.
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What To Do Now?

I am sure that question is being asked all over Ottawa this morning. The public really, really doesn't understand minority government and quite frankly doesn't care to try. All people want is for politicians to get their act together and "do something". The problem is, no one in the other parties can work with Harper. The man simply cannot be trusted. On the other hand, the government is getting huge numbers as a result of this week and if you don't think Harper will use them to squeeze the other parties, you haven't been paying attention. So, to sum up, the country is in a panic, and the government is being run by an incompetent psychopath, who is being challenged by men who make incompetent psychopathology look palatable. We Canadians are well and truly, screwed.

Update: And pardon me, but if the Liberals think that trying to pretend they already have a new leader, will not work. It won't fool anyone and makes the real head of the coalition look weaker and more incompetent than he already does.
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Thursday, December 04, 2008

We're Doomed

Paul Wells is depressing the hell out of me. I think because there is more than a little truth in what he is writing today:
I hope I have made it clear since the summer that I have come to believe Stephen Harper is turning into a really bad prime minister. He is incoherent, vicious and unserious. His fall update was idiocy on stilts, and when he sent his transport minister out two days later to disown the work of his finance minister, nobody in the country blinked because nobody in the country takes what this government does as a government seriously.

All the opposition had to do was come up with a better alternative. They have failed. This is a depressing moment in our nation’s politics.


Update: In retrospect the coalition may have come one election too late.
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Like A Rapist Asking For A Hug

A senior goverment official speaking on background said Canadians should expect to see Harper using the break to ask the opposition parties for their specific proposals for the economy.
I bet the boys in the PMO had a good laugh over that quote.
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Just Because I was Right About Prorogation

Doesn't mean I have to be happy about it. Mme. Jean was perfectly within her right to prorogue parliament. I am obviously unhappy she did so, but I believe in our system and I can live with her, in my opinion, bad decision. I think she has done two things today. First, I think she has set a terrible precedent. Now, anytime a prime minister gets in a jam, he or she will have Mme Jean's decision to cite as a get out of jail free card. Second, in this particular case, I think Mme. Jean has saved Harper's bacon, at least temporarily. I may be wrong, but I don't think so.

The Tories will lay the wood on the Liberals for the next six weeks and then they will find some way (as they always do) to get around voting on the Throne Speech to present a budget first. Have no doubt, this budget will be so thick with pork fat that it will take a week to dig through it. Harper will then turn his piggy features toward the Liberals and say, "Defeat me and I will get my election. Count on it." Given the state of the parties, I suspect the coalition will fall apart.

As for the country, it is much, much worse shape than it was a week ago. Our parliament is toxic, our PM thinks nothing of pitting one province against another and the economy is in turmoil. A real leader would have avoided all of this. Harper, sadly, is a master manipulator and a consummate liar, but he is not a leader.
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Harper Having An Impact

The lead editorial headline in Le Devoir this morning: "Harper, le pyromane" (Harper the Pyromaniac). Meanwhile in BC and keeping on the theme of fire. It seems someone burned NDP Nathan Cullen's sign down the night before last. It is time for the firebug in chief to take his matches and go home.

Update: I ran the Le Devoir editorial through Google translate. It is always an adventure, but the translator did a fairly good job. Read it yourself. See for yourself the damage Harper is doing to our country. It is time for him to go.

Harper the pyromaniac

Since the threat to overthrow the Harper government by a coalition NDP-PLC with the support of the Bloc Quebecois, Conservatives all ministers, including representatives of Quebec and the prime minister, adopt a very aggressive towards those that 'so-called "separatists". Behind these attacks appears to light so far retained a disregard of the former Canadian Alliance against the legitimate and democratic aspirations of French-speaking Quebec.

The frustration is such in the Conservative government that all shots are allowed to win the favor of public opinion in Canada and Britain. Both in their advertising that House members Conservatives have lost all sense of restraint, at the same time accusing the Liberals of betraying their country and the Bloc of betraying their ideals. It emerges from the conservative approach of pure fragrance of hatred against cursed "s├ęparatisss" who choose the Quebec before that of Canada as a nation to protect their culture and identity.

When Conservative MPs and the Prime Minister rose in the House to accuse the PLC-NDP coalition to hand over its fate in the hands of a party that seeks only to destroy Canada, they make a triple fault: first d 'ignore the constructive contribution of the Bloc for democratic debate that took place in Ottawa for more than eighteen years and then not to recognize that all federalist parties, including the Conservative Party, have already signed formal agreements and informal with the Bloc in the interest of parliamentary work and finally, that the presence of the Bloc in Ottawa is also legitimate and respectable than any other member.

During his first term at the helm of a minority government, Stephen Harper has tried to forget about the radicals he had held in the past against Quebec nationalists. To listen since the beginning of this crisis of credibility that overwhelms his government about to be overthrown in four days or four weeks, these efforts have been buried under a torrent of spite because that gives millions of Quebecers do not having served a term majority on a silver platter.

The Conservatives have already forgotten that they have elected a handful of members in Quebec during the last two elections, while the Bloc won a majority of seats? That Quebecers have elected members of the Bloc instead of Conservative MPs, it is not a coincidence that they felt in their hearts and conscience that this party was better placed to defend their interests within the federation. However, the Bloc has not received the mandate to make independence in Ottawa and its support for the coalition does not particularly that goal. In fact, anyone who contributes the most to raise the passions and destructive ire of French at the moment is Stephen Harper and not Gilles Duceppe!

What happens past few days in the Commons confirms the negative interpretation from the economic statement last week. Whoever came during the last election campaign as a man of openness is emerging as a vengeful politician, and since Tuesday, the head of a party of arsonists. This climate, this is neither the Bloc nor the NDP or the Liberals who are responsible, but the very man who, heading a minority government, should have exercised restraint, openness and trial at this time of crisis in the country: Stephen Harper.
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Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Reaction To Harper's Commercial

Shorter Stephen Harper: There I was, minding my own business, when these three guys decided, for no reason, to gang up on me. AND ONE OF THEM WAS A GOD DAMN SEPARATIST!
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Speaking of Coups

Coyne is calling for one in the Liberal Party. It doesn't seem to bother him much, either.
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Where We Are Today

After yesterday's performance in the House by the PM, I would say we are past the point of no return. I can see no way out but to play this right to the end, now. However, this is going to be ugly and people should not underestimate how ugly it could get. Harper has essentially signaled to the opposition that he may lose, but he is more than willing to leave the "victors" a politically radioactive lump to govern. Meanwhile Iggy supporter, Warren Kinsella, has gone to ground. If I was a tea leaf reader, I would say that is not a good sign.

Update: Peter Russell, a man for whom I have a high regard, has a reasoned analysis of our parliamentary system and the situation in which we find ourselves. Sadly, his reason will be lost amid arguments over flag placement.

Update 2 Ok, he is back. I can breathe again.
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Quote Of The Day

Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel -- Samuel Johnson

Johnson didn't know how right he was.
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Tuesday, December 02, 2008

When The Vulcan Chess Master Met Big Blue

Over at Greg Staples place, OC and Greg S. have opined that Jack Layton was plotting against Harper and so no matter what Harper did, it is irrelevant because Layton was out to get him no matter what. I won't bother arguing about whether or not Layton was out to replace Harper, because I suspect it is true. Imagine a politician from one party plotting to replace the leader of another. What I do take issue with is the idea that Harper could have done anything and it wouldn't have mattered. There, I strongly disagree. Because without Harper and his disastrous, ridiculously clumsy, economic statement, Layton would be a man with a plot and not an about to be cabinet minister.

Harper, in his hubris, kicked the opposition once too often, going after the unions, women and (especially in the Liberal Party's case) the existence of the parties themselves. Without the economic statement's completely boneheaded partisanship, the Liberals would have found a way to support Harper. After all, they are broke and basically between leaders. It took as special brand of anger to get them to agree to follow Jack Layton into a constitutional gray zone. That anger was supplied to them by Stephen Harper. So, as I said to Greg and OC, Layton may have set the charge on this bomb, but Harper could have sidestepped it easily. But he didn't. Instead, he decided it would be fun to light the fuse.
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Speaking Only For Myself

Aside from that unpleasantness about Quebec separating, I think "Prime Minister Duceppe" would be much better in the job than the current occupant. Come on, be honest, having watched his performance both in the House and in debates, you think so too, don't you?
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News Item

Prime Minister Harper slagged Peter MacKay during Question Period, yesterday:
When we are talking about why people should have confidence, why should anybody have confidence in the leader of a party who would agree to fold his own party into another party, and to deal with the separatists in order to get the power the voters denied him at the ballot box?
Harsh and I think calling all Reformists "separatists" is a little over the top too.
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Monday, December 01, 2008

Where Now?

My money is still on prorogation. Desperate people do desperate things and these guys are wetting themselves. I suspect if their private polls find that a majority of Canadians a) don't know what prorogation is and/or b) do not mind a government in power for two weeks taking another two months off, the Tories will pull the plug.

Tuesday Update: John at Dymaxion World raises an interesting point.
Mike Duffy raised the issue of the government running out of money unless the Parliament votes on new money bills soon.
I admit, I hadn't thought of this, although I suspect it wouldn't bother some on the government side much. You can be sure the minions in the PMO are checking every corner of the known universe for some obscure rule, not used since the 13th century, that allows the King to raise money without Parliament's consent.
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Harper Wanted Layton To Be PM In 2004

According to Pierre Poilievre:
Poilievre rejected suggestions by the NDP that its co-operation with the Bloc was no different than what Conservatives did in 2004. At the time, opposition parties wrote then-Gov. Gen. Adrienne Clarkson noting she could be asked to dissolve Parliament should the Commons defeat the Liberal minority government.

"We respectfully point out that the opposition parties, who together constitute a majority in the House, have been in close consultation," says the Sept. 9, 2004, letter signed by Harper, Duceppe and Layton.

"We believe that, should a request for dissolution arise, this should give you cause, as constitutional practice has determined, to consult the opposition leaders and consider all of your options before exercising your constitutional authority."

Poilievre said the situation is not the same.

"The word 'coalition' never appeared," he said. "It never suggested in the letter that … then opposition leader Harper would become prime minister.

"All it said is that opposition leaders who represent the majority of the House should be consulted before the dissolution of Parliament.

"You can look through all the records, and you will find that Stephen Harper has never even … remotely entertained a coalition with the BQ. " (emphasis mine)
So, if the Tories never wanted a coalition with the Bloc and Harper did not want to be PM, the only logical conclusion is the Harper wanted Layton to become PM in 2004. Who knew?
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Mystery Solved

Via Democratic Space the identity of the Tory Taper has been revealed. To say that the NDP "provided" the Tory Taper with the information required to join the conference call is a stretch to say the least.
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Why Now?

I will break this down so that Conservatives can understand why they are on the verge of falling. The times, dear Conservatives, call for a Conservative Obama. What we got was Richard Nixon.
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